Sports Nicknames - Il Fenomeno

When asked who the most dangerous striker of the 21st century is, what might the answer be? Robert Lewandowski? Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Luis Suarez? Some might agree, but many more see it as the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima. Nicknamed "Il Fenomeno" (or O Fenomeno in Portuguese), "The Phenomenon" certainly deserved the name.

The one and only Il Fenomeno - Illustration.  Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima.  Drawing.  Profile illustration.  Digital art.  One of the best to ever play the game.

Starting his career at Cruzeiro in Brazil before moving to PSV in the Netherlands, Ronaldo astonished all who saw him. His mesmerising dribbling, clinical finishing and clever movement made him the star wonderkid of European football. He was quickly snatched up by Barcelona for a world record fee in 1996. The single year he was at Barcelona, he scored 47 goals in 49 games, rounding the keeper for many of them. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year at age 20, the youngest to do so.

He followed up this season by transferring to Inter Milan. He was successful for the Italian club until he found himself with a recurring knee injury from 1999-2002. This took away the explosive pace he was known for, yet he still managed to transfer to Real Madrid and win a Ballon d'Or. His hattrick against Manchester United in the Champions League is still famous for both sets of fans giving him a standing ovation when he was substituted.

Il Fenomeno continued playing and continued scoring for Real Madrid, AC Milan and Corinthians until his retirement in 2011, but he never managed to recapture his earliest magic. Yet, people still remember him as the first Ronaldo and possibly the greatest striker to ever play football.


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